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Probability cueing of singleton-distractor locations in visual search

Probability cueing of singleton-distractor locations in visual search

Featured, Research
Observers can learn the likely locations of salient distractors in visual search, reducing their potential to capture attention (Ferrante et al., 2018; Sauter et al., 2018a; Wang & Theeuwes, 2018a). While there is agreement that this involves positional suppression of the likely distractor location(s), it is contentious at which stage of search guidance the suppression operates: the supra-dimensional priority map or feature-contrast signals within the distractor dimension. On the latter account, advocated by Sauter et al., target processing should be unaffected by distractor suppression when the target is defined in a different (non-suppressed) dimension to the target. At odds with this, Wang and Theeuwes found strong suppression not only of the (color) distractor, but also of the (shape) target when it appeared at the likely distractor location. Adopting their paradigm,…
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What you see depends on what you hear: temporal averaging and crossmodal integration

What you see depends on what you hear: temporal averaging and crossmodal integration

Featured, Research
In our multisensory world, we often rely more on auditory information than on visual input for temporal processing. One typical demonstration of this is that the rate of auditory flutter assimilates the rate of concurrent visual flicker. To date, however, this auditory dominance effect has largely been studied using regular auditory rhythms. It thus remains unclear whether irregular rhythms would have a similar impact on visual temporal processing, what information is extracted from the auditory sequence that comes to influence visual timing, and how the auditory and visual temporal rates are integrated together in quantitative terms. We investigated these questions by assessing, and modeling, the influence of a task-irrelevant auditory sequence on the type of "Ternus apparent motion": group motion versus element motion. The type of motion seen critically depends…
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Inter-trial effects in visual search

Inter-trial effects in visual search

Featured, Research
Many previous studies on visual search have reported inter-trial effects, that is, observers respond faster when some target property, such as a defining feature or dimension, or the response associated with the target repeats versus changes across consecutive trial episodes. However, what processes drive these inter-trial effects is still controversial. Here, we investigated this question using a combination of Bayesian modeling of belief updating and evidence accumulation modeling in perceptual decision-making. In three visual singleton ('pop-out') search experiments, we explored how the probability of the response-critical states of the search display (e.g., target presence/absence) and the repetition/switch of the target-defining dimension (color/ orientation) affect reaction time distributions. The results replicated the mean reaction time (RT) inter-trial and dimension repetition/switch effects that have been reported in previous studies. Going beyond this,…
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Sequential dependence and Vierordt’s law

Sequential dependence and Vierordt’s law

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Perceptual bias caused by sequential dependence has attracted lots of attention recently. The phenomenon is not new. For example, 150 years ago Vierordt has found a classic central tendency effect using duration reproduction. However, recently Stefan Glasauer and me looked into the original study conducted by Vierordt (1868), and found actually Vierordt wrongly used the method developed by Fechner (1860). That is, Vieordt introduced randomization in the 'method of average error' that Fechner invented. Using iterative Bayesian updating we are able to replicate the original Vierordt's results. More interestingly, we found that the randomization is the main factor that causes the classic Vierordt's law. That is, the short duration is often overestimated and long duration underestimated. We conducted a new study with two different sequences, sampled from the same distribution,…
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Visual Search and Selective Attention (VSSA IV)

Visual Search and Selective Attention (VSSA IV)

Lab News
A wonderful experience in Visual Search and Selective Attention (VSSA IV), AMMERSEE, MUNICH, GERMANY (13.07 – 16.07.2018) VSSA  is one of the most important International Symposium in the cognitive neuro-sciences. Over the past decades, VSSA has become a core topic in the cognitive neuro-sciences, sparking an abundance of methodological and theoretical advances. In fact, the recent years have seen an exponential increase in published articles with keywords ‘visual search’, ‘visual attention’, and ‘visual working memory’! Thus, while there is a rapidly expanding research output, this engenders a growing need to keep the field together. To contribute to the latter is the main purpose of our symposium series, that is, (i) to bring together a group of world-leading scientists engaged in the field of VSSA, (ii)  who represent different theoretical stances and methodological approaches, (iii) the aim…
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Farewell party

Farewell party

Lab News
"Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes." - Billy Joel It is sad for us that Linda (Xuelian) and Leo are leaving, but it is also a new chapter for Linda and Leo. Good luck with your new job and new career!
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touching

Lab News
In her latest book "Of This World", Stella Pierides, writer and poet, includes a Haibun titled Touching, which was written in response to one of our recent research studies: Watching a real moving object expands tactile duration: the role of task-irrelevant action context for subjective time (Jia, Shi, Zang, & Müller, 2015). This is a new perspective on our scientific research. We reprint her haibun with her kind permission. Enjoy! Touching Imagine your left hand is being made to feel a brief vibration and you're being asked to estimate how long this vibration lasts. In one version of this scenario, you are holding a small ball in both hands; in another, your right hand is free. And in both versions, you see a safely suspended, potentially catchable ball moving towards you. Would…
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